Looks like a bank, doesn’t act like one

Wisconsin State Roundup

Published November 1, 2008  | November 2008 issue

While much of the financial services world is in disarray, a sliver of it—at least in Wisconsin—is doing quite well.

Through the first half of this year, state credit unions posted 17 percent gains in net income over the same period last year, according to the state Office of Credit Unions. Loan value among all credit unions increased by about 9 percent—an improvement over both 2006 and 2007, though loan activity dropped among those with less than $10 million in assets. However, savings deposits grew for credit unions of all sizes. Loan delinquency rates through the first half of the year were also 10 percent lower.

Compare that with banks in the state, which saw an 88 percent drop in earnings for the first half of 2008, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The drop was partly due to several significant losses by larger banks, but banks also dedicated more money to reserves to cover potential losses, the agency said. There were a few bright spots, however: Loan demand increased by 11 percent for the state's commercial banks, well above the 8.4 percent for banks nationwide.

Ronald A. Wirtz